Country singer, songwriter, and producer, Jamie O’Neal, has been a name you have heard for over a decade. Jamie is best known for her hit songs throughout the 2000’s (including “When I Think About Angels” and “Somebody’s Hero”), as well as some notable album releases. Fourteen years after her debut album, Jamie is back with Eternal, an album packed from beginning to (almost) end with some of the greatest classic country hits of generations past. Ranging from Patsy to Loretta and George to Willie, Jamie embraces the history of country music and ensures that it lives on – eternally.
From the first track, there is one all-encompassing theme to Eternal, and that is Jamie O’Neal has one of the best voices you will ever hear. Admittedly, I have not closely followed Jamie during her downtime from the limelight, but hearing her vocals again immediately reminded me why she was an artist I adored in my formative country music fan years. Jamie’s album displays vocal clarity, enormous range, undeniable emotion, and a modern twist to a classic sound, exposing newer country music fans to vintage tracks with current musical elements.
Packed with power and occasionally appropriate sass, Jamie attacks songs such as “Born to Run,” “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’,” and “Just One Time.” This trifecta of tracks is a toe-tapping triple offering amongst a sea of slower paced sensational songs. Though the songs explore different subjects — running from love, pushing love away, and wishing love would return — Jamie flawlessly conquers each topic with strong performances and an uncanny ability to grasp each role.
Highlights on the album include “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” a track that will leave you breathless. With gut-wrenchingly beautiful lyrics and vocals to complement the words, this song is a standout on Eternal and solidifies how deserving Jamie is to be considered one of the best vocalists in existence. Other highlights are an Andy Griggs duet, “Golden Ring,” and a cover of The Gatlin Brothers’ “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today.” Jamie and Andy blend together seamlessly, creating a complex and rich sound in a simple song about a plain piece of jewelry. “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today” immediately follows “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” which is an unfortunate spot for any song considering the power and beauty of its predecessor. However, the track serves as a bookend of perfection to the song before it. Once again, Jamie’s vocals are jaw-droppingly spectacular as she visits notes from one end of the spectrum to another and does so in the most chill-inducing of ways.
Rounding out the album is a sole original song, co-written by Jamie and her father. The song lends comedic relief to an album comprised of time-honored anthems. In a ditty that is reminiscent of a Deana Carter “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” approach to wrapping an album up with sense of humor, Jamie sings about a man who “sleeps like a baby” and “snores like a tank.”
What will you take away from Jamie O’Neal’s Eternal? Flashbacks of old memories and creations of new memories, along with chills (and in some cases tears), if you are as moved by Jamie’s vocals as this #CMchat writer. You may also find yourself yearning for more original offerings by Jamie and asking when fans can expect something new from this extremely talented singer/songwriter.
Eternal will be available this Tuesday, May 27th, and is an album for country music fans of all ages. Whether you come from the days of Merle or hail from a time when country began sliding toward pop/rock, there is something for everybody on Jamie’s album. The title speaks volumes, as Jamie’s compilation of tracks certainly has eternal staying power.
Let us know what you think of Eternal by leaving a comment below. Also, we will be Twitterviewing Jamie O’Neal tonight at 6pm PT/9pm ET. Make sure to join the chat by following @CMchatLIVE and @JamieONeal and using #CMchat in all of your tweets.